Like most businesses, the video surveillance sector tends to centralize and consolidate its systems to reduce costs and take advantage of new upgraded technology. This article discusses the advantages of an unexpected jump that could cause the premature obsolescence of Digital Video Recorders in the security industry. IPTV, or Internet Protocol Television, enables all business systems like access control, fire alarm, phone, and computers to operate under one network. Video transmission over a network utilizes what is known as a virtual matrix as opposed to CCTV matrix switches. To visualize the difference, think of the difference between the portable CD players people used to carry to play one album at a time and the iPods now in fashion that can store hundreds of thousands of songs.
In its first ten years of existence the DVR has created a seriously high quality method of storing video images without any of the degradation of the former standard, the analog VCR tape. DVR provides efficient fast search capabilities and easy reviewing of the video, however the digital cameras use a server with analog video inputs and they are hooked up by coaxial cable just like analog cameras. There are a limited number of inputs and outputs for connecting with other systems and devices so once the inputs are full, if you want to connect to a control center you have to add another unit. Another drawback is that most DVR software uses non-standard digitization, compression, and closed circuit codes. This makes high-level integration with communications centers difficult. Although DVR security cameras have integrated hi-tech features like motion video, pan, tilt, and zoom, the limits on their flexibility become obvious when compared to IPTV.
It seems surprising that a better format would appear so suddenly but IP solutions offer significant advantages that would lower overhead by reducing redundancy and peripherals, plus provide for a much easier management of the systems. This is especially true for multiple locations and companies providing or using centralized recording and monitoring. By using convergence technology only one infrastructure needs to be maintained that can control all functions: intrusion detection alarms, temperature control, IP video, etc. which reduces costs and enables easier merging with new technology and software upgrades.
Better compression methods have overcome the initial problems with the heavy bandwidth for transmitting used with IPTV. There are two main formats used: Motion JPEG and MPEG4. The lower bandwidth per video stream of the MPEG4 gives it an advantage over the browser-based MJPEG but it needs a codex or applet for browser Web viewing. In a control center, the virtual matrix allows switching any video stream to any decoder due to decoders connected to all the monitors.
With such technology it seems inevitable that companies will need to consider it in order to keep up with the software of the future. As things stand there are high-security capabilities to videotape at a different frame-per-second speed and to playback or monitor at any other speed. This would mean that video evidence of any crimes, fires, or emergencies, if recorded at low frames-per-second would provide more critical detail for investigators to view. There have been numerous crimes solved by police being able to see high-resolution images from nearby business security cameras.